Sunday, January 29, 2006

Gauntlet 2, Episode 8: Clutch Performance

Previously on Gauntlet 2: Beth beat Ruthie in the Gauntlet. I'm still figuring out how that happened.

Nighttime. Cara and Susie are playing table tennis. Cara: "This is the clumsiest game of shenanigans that I've ever played." Susie quips about how Cara plays.

Elsewhere Kina is getting information from Jillian. Jillian looks up and around, making sure nobody is watching. Apparently, Cara had wanted to talk with Jillian. Jillian interviews that Cara and Susie had approached her about joining an alliance. In return, she would get to stay in the game. "I don't want anything to do with it," she tells us. She tells Kina that it's unsettling to have this information. “You did the right thing,” Kina replies. “They’d sell their souls to the devil.” Kina tells us that Brad, Timmy and David would throw missions where the female captains are on the line. In exchange, Cara, Susie and Jillian would toss the male captain missions. Does this make any sense to anybody? I get the part about throwing missions and putting weak ladies like Beth, Robin and Montana into the line of fire. But after Jeremy, the Rookie guys are really strong. Kina figures that the best thing to do is tell Alton, since it’s important for him to understand and keep his eyes open, because his butt is on the line.

Clue time! David reads about the clue asking if the players are strong. Syrus misdirects us, interviewing that his ass is on the line, and he could be the next to go into the Gauntlet.

Rookies meeting. Kina interviews that it’s her responsibility to tell the others to make up for Cara and Susie slacking. She tells her teammates to watch out for those two. Alton cannot believe it, since the team is trying to get everybody “over the line.” He interviews that he tries the hardest to win every mission, and he thinks the idea of alliances sucks. Kina gripes about the potential to mess with the team, and they can’t let it happen. Everybody looks anxious as we go to commercials...after four minutes and 23 seconds. Damn, that was a short first act.

Quick tangent: What’s more tragic? The fact that Dave Mirra shows more charisma in his Oxy commercial then in either season of The Inferno? Or that he shows more charisma in that ad than TJ Lavin after eight episodes?

New day. Mission site. We see pick-up trucks and fake boulders. TJ welcomes everybody to Plymouth Park for today’s mission: Team Strength. Really, that’s the name. TJ shows the trucks, boulders and stacks of cinder blocks. Each team gets two players to push (one male, one female) and one driver. The objective: push the truck to the finish line. Ace expositions that the teams have to move the boulder from one end of the field to the other, then run back. Then they push the truck down the field. After that, the teams load the trucks with cinder blocks, then push it back to the start. TJ notes that the first team to get everything done wins $10,000 for the bank account, and the captain is safe from the Gauntlet. Kina interviews that the Rookies do not trust Cara or Susie, and they have to pick up the slack of those two. TJ adds that the male captain of the winning team gets $1,000 in sweet sponsor money.

Strategizing. Ace wants to drive the Veterans’ truck. He foreshadows about how he’s been driving stick shift since he was born. As the Rookies huddle up, Alton interviews that the plan involves Cara and Susie getting minimal responsibility. He doles out assignments, as Cara tells us that she has seen others proving themselves, and she wants to add to that.

TJ blows the airhorn to kick things off. Both sides turn the boulders around before rolling. Soon, the Veterans’ boulder breaks apart. Call me crazy, but I think that was intentioanl on the parts of the planners. Timmy: “We’re pushin’ this S.O.B. as fast as possible, and it snaps apart like peanut brittle.” As the Rookies finish up, the Veterans grab the boulder fragments. Aneesa interviews that nobody is panicking, and everybody is getting the pieces and running. The team finishes up, just as the Rookies get loaded into the pickup truck

Randy and Ibis push the Rookies’ truck. Randy interviews that they’re in the lead, but the pushing is hard. The truck moves slowly, as the rest of the team is loaded in the cab. The Veterans start moving, with Beth and David pushing. Timmy interviews that they are behind, and they have to make up ground. In the cab, the Veterans push on the compartment, trying to push it. Both sides keep pushing. “Beantown, buddy!” Syrus yells at David. “Rep the bean, dawg! Right now!” I heart close-captioning. Rookies push. Veterans feel like they’re catching up. “Beth’s performance today?” Mark interviews. “Right on point. She’s one of our better girls on our team, and she should be proud of herself.” I hope he got paid to say that. She is pushing without complaint...but she’s Beth. The Rookies push in the cab. Randy interviews that his legs are burning, he can’t stand on them, and the Veterans are catching up.

Both sides continue to push, and the Rookies are whistled clear to start loading the cinder blocks. As Randy collapses in pain, the Veterans begin to load their truck. Robin interviews that her team is working like an assembly line, with no fighting. The Rookies load up. Kina tells us that they have one less man to work with, and they have to deal with Susie and Cara. Does anybody think Danny or Adam could have made the difference here? More loading. Beth interviews that the Veterans are smoking the Rookies, and that Mark and Julie will be pushing the truck back. The Rookies finish up, as Jeremy slides into the driver’s seat. The Veterans pile into the cab, as Syrus yells for Ace to put the truck in neutral. Ace insists that he has done so. Julie screams for her team to “rock it,” her insanity and immaturity coming out once again. Jodi and MJ try to push the truck, but there’s little movement. Jeremy interviews about praying that the Veterans don’t get into the swing of things. In the cab, the Veterans count down and jump at the same time. Can you really move something like a truck when the load is in the air for a fraction of a second? Doesn’t seem likely to me.

TJ informs that Rookies that he will blow his airhorn, and they can bring in two more pushers. Landon tells MJ that he and Alton will help out, then he barks orders to the rest of the group. Susie raises her arm, but Landon is having none of her help. She interviews that she and Cara are begging to push the truck, that it’s their time to shine, but Landon doesn’t want it.

TJ blows the airhorn. Alton and Kina jump off the Rookie truck to push, while Beth and Syrus help the Veterans. Once again, the remaining Veterans try to push the truck from within. Julie screams, Mark and Syrus push, and Beth doesn’t look like she’s helping. The Rookies push, and they actually get some movement. As the Veterans struggle, Timmy asks if the truck is in neutral. Ace looks around in the driver’s seat, not sure what’s wrong. Rookies continue to move back. Veterans? No real movement. Syrus pushes, hunched over on the hood. “The truck is just barely moving,” he interviews. “Something is wrong. Yes, the car is heavy, but there’s wheels. Wheels will roll if you push.”

Julie counts down, the Veteran pushers rush towards the truck to propel it. That’s a good way to get injured. There’s little movement, so Julie goes berserk, slamming on the windshield and cursing. The Rookies keep going, and the Veterans can only look on as the Rookies get the win. Cue the celebration, as MJ falls down and takes Landon with him, and Alton collapses near a fence. Robin interviews that the Veterans haven’t moved two feet from where they started, and something had to be wrong with the car. Syrus tells Ace to hold the clutch down...and finally, the Veterans get some movement going. Julie: “What the fuck?!? Are you freakin’ kidding?!? The clutch?!? The fucking clutch?!? Are you fucking kidding me?!?” There’s the batshit crazy bitch I know and loathe. I can hear Coral cackling three thousand miles away. Syrus mutters that he should have drove, since he was a valet for six months (not counting his one-day stint in Acapulco). Ace laughs in front of the camera, telling us that he’s going to the Gauntlet.

TJ wraps up the mission, noting that the Veterans had bad luck with the truck, and that he’ll see Derrick in the Gauntlet tonight. Brad interviews that they needed the win, they lost $10,000, and they don’t need to lose another guy. TJ awards the money to the Rookies, and gives Alton $1,000. Landon interviews that he’s relieved to save the guys from the Gauntlet, and they stopped Susie and Cara...that is, if they had an alliance. Susie tells Cara that she doesn’t know if there’s a conspiracy or if the team thinks the duo isn’t capable, but she’s offended either way, and she wants to convince them that she’s not a liability. Cara interviews that she wants to celebrate, but it feels like she and Susie got shot down. Cara tells Susie that it’s hard to keep quiet, abut she doesn’t want to draw attention to it. Tense music plays us to the break.

Veterans’ Gauntlet Deliberation. Ace wants to start things off, as Timmy gets off a hard laugh. Ace notes that he’s been driving cars since he was 16 years old, and he never saw one in neuttal that didn’t roll. He takes responsibility for the team’s loss, and volunteers himself to go into the Gauntlet. The team applauds Ace, and Syrus gives him a hug. Ace interviews that he might as well step up and take it like a man.

TJ comes in to get the decision. Derricks tells TJ about how Ace volunteered himself. TJ spins the wheel, and it lands on Captain’s Choice. Derrick mulls his options...and since there’s no event where Ace has to stick his head in bugs, Derrick chooses Beach Brawl. He gives an interview wearing a blue mesh cap. I hope he borrowed it from somebody, because it does not flatter him. “It’s not like a close friendship anymore,” he tells us. “I”ve got to turn that switch on, and that switch says, “Ace, you’ve got to go home’.” Julie: “I honestly think that Ace has a really great chance against Derrick in Beach Brawl because hello? He’s bigger, and it seems obvious to me that Derrick’s made a bad choice.” Julie was on Inferno II along with Derrick. She's seen how gung-ho he can get. Can she be that dim?

Gauntlet. Slow-motion shots of Ace and Derrick walking. TJ welcomes them, then congratulates the Rookies for their win. Susie sits on the floor, resting her head on a rail. TJ calls down Derrick. After leaping over the rail, Derrick announces that Ace volunteered himself. TJ goes over Beach Brawl; the objective being to get the opponent outside of the circle. Lathered in oil, yadda yadda yadda, best three-of-five, loser goes home.

The guys get oiled up. “It’s my time to shine,” Ace interviews. “I’ve been needing this for a while now. Now’s the time to do it.” Derrick tells us that he thinks he’ll win, and that Ace doesn’t have the wrestling skills to beat him.

Both guys get into position. TJ rings the bell to start the commotion. Thankfully, nobody flies out of the ring like Danny this time. The guys grapple, with Derrick staying low, pushing Ace out of the circle to take a 1-0 lead. The sand sticks to Ace’s oily body. “This son of a bitch is getting low as hell,” Ace drawls. “I’m six feet tall, he’s five-foot-six. He’s a pit bull. I can’t get underneath him!”

TJ orders them to go. More wrestling. Ace gets on top, and Derrick tries to lift him. Aneesa interviews that she wants Derrick to pull through. Ace manages to lift Derrick and throw him on his side and out of the circle. Tie game, 1-1.

TJ signals them to continue. The edits come fast and furious, so I’m guessing this bout lasted a long time. Ace is still on top, but Derrick gets him to stumble backwards and out. Derrick leads, 2-1. Julie reminds us that Derrick needs one more win to stay in the game.

TJ signals them to go. Both players are so low, they look like they’re digging a hole. Derrick gets on top this time, but Ace gets him on his back. Derrick manages to get underneath Ace. Soon, Ace’s foot is near the rope marking the circle. Derrick lunges his small frame at Ace, causing him to fall back. Game Over, Derrick stays on as captain. It wasn’t as easy as Alton makes it look, but Derrick did good. Ace remains on his back, taking a breather. As TJ announces Derrick’s win, most of the Veterans clap. Derrick lifts Ace up, interviewing ruefully that a “solider” had to go home, and that he gives Ace a lot of credit.

Denouement. TJ congratulates a still-wincing Derrick for his win. He then gives Ace twenty minutes to pack up and leave the house. The combatants man-hug as the Veterans applaud. “Losing in anything in life just sucks,” Ace interviews. “But [Derrick is] a great captain, and he will continue to be a great captain. He’s got going anywhere for a long time.” And a round of applause for Ace, who competed in seven missions this time, three more than his two Challenges combined. And he probably would have stayed on longer if he worked the clutch better.

Mansion. Ace walks through the door in a hurry, telling us he has fifteen minutes to “pack and party.” He calls for a party in his room. Quick shots of the players gathering in the room. Ace drawls about how this experience is about making the most out of life. “I guarantee,” he proclaims, “thirty years from now, you’re not gonna miss the 30,000 bucks, but you will remember the friendships.” Everybody cheers, and Ace gets hugs and handshakes for being such a gosh-darn cornball. “I put my heart and my soul into this one,” he interviews. “I came with some ideas. I did the best I can. I sacrificed myself for the team. Sometimes, the cards don’t fall right.” More hugs. David calls Ace “the social chair” of the house, since he keeps the party going. David adds that he’ll miss Ace, but Derrick will be “a benefit to my pocket.” Ace rides off.

Back to the drama with the Rookies. Cara tells the team that she feels they’re so successful because of their communication, drive and ability to listen to each other. She interviews that Susie and herself can’t let things blow over. She tells the Rookies that she was fired up and ready to push the truck. Alton interviews that he thought Cara would bring up the alliance with the Veterans, and that he sees Landon’s face go red. Landon asks the girls point-blank if they’re in an alliance. Susie’s jaw drops dramatically. There’s been rumors within the BMP community that Susie is quite the faker and drama queen. So how come I’m convinced she didn’t rehearse the reaction? She just has that face, you know? Cara looks pained. Shots of Kina and Alton looking on. Cara: “Forget it! N-O! Do you think I’m stupid?” She is shocked that the team is thinking that, and that she had no idea. Kina cracks a small smile. In an outside interview, Jillian thinks that Cara played it off, but if she and Susie went for the alliance, she would have been safe.

A pissed-looking Kina lets Cara and Susie know that the team is aware of what they can do. Susie understands why the team would be angry. “I’m absolutely blindsided,” she interviews. “I had no idea anybody would even think this.” MJ gives the pair a “fuck y’all” if they’re in an alliance, adding that it makes them look suspicious. Susie looks ready to cry, sobbing a little as we see the Rookies file out of the room.

Outside. Cara pleads to the team that she thought it was a joke when the Veterans approached her, adding that it was a miscommunication. She interviews that she doesn’t know how the team got the information about the so-called alliance. Susie sits down, looking very hurt. Cara loses her cool, angry that she feels punished for something that’s bull to begin with. Kina: “I believe not one word that is coming out of Cara or Susie’s mouth.” Susie still looks hurt. Cara looks exhausted. Fade to credits.

I do believe that Cara was right about not being in an alliance. After all, what purpose would it serve to help the other team, at the risk of her male teammates? I still like Kina, since she took Eric Nies’ jumprope in Battle of the Sexes 2, but I feel that she needs something only Randy can give her...or maybe Jamie. Actually, with her rampaging paranoia, I think she already got that something, and she’s in withdrawal.

Next time: Jillian tells Cara and Susie that she told the Rookies about the alliance. Kina is pissed off about having a conversation in regards to screwing the team. The mission looks like the “two people balance on ropes using each other” that was shown on Road Rules: Campus Crawl. And judging from the commercials, Beth looks like she’s Gauntlet-bound. Will she win? I refuse to believe she could wind up with the same 2-0 endgame record as Cara, Landon and Derrick.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Tonya and Katie also had 2-0 endgame records